Bühler to build insect protein plant for Agronutris

17-Dec-2021

To feed 10 billion people who are expected to live on our planet by 2050, about 250 million metric tons of additional protein will be necessary every year

French insect producer Agronutris has contracted Bühler to build its first commercial scale black soldier fly plant. The technology company will deliver a ‘full-scope’ solution for the facility, which will be built in Rethel, France. This collaboration the company’s commitment to its targets to help mitigate climate change and build a more sustainable food system. The plant is planned to go into operation in 2023.

The 16,000 sqm insect plant in Rethel, France, when operating at full capacity, will process up to 70,000 tonnes of organic residues, producing protein for the aquaculture and pet food markets.

“With the launch of this new site, Agronutris is entering its industrial deployment stage. The facility of Rethel will be our springboard for the further industrial development of our activity,” said Mehdi Berrada, CEO of Agronutris. “Bühler is a world-leading company with a tremendous experience in the food and feed sector. We trust in their capabilities to support us in the insect industry. This allows our teams to focus on our core activities: insect biology and operational management of our production flow. Our research and development activities make for our competitive advantage.”

The technology at the facility will cover the entire supply chain. This includes feedstock preparation for the larvae and an automated larvae growth system with climate control. The company will also deliver the processing line to transform the grown larvae into protein meal and lipids with consistent quality, as well as the excrement handling system for a secure offtake of the rearing residues.

“The new project with Agronutris is a milestone for us. It confirms our goal of establishing ourselves as a key solution provider for the insect industry and to increase the inclusion of insect proteins in animal feed. Our solutions contribute to more sustainable feed supply chains,” says Andreas Baumann, Head of Market Segment Insect Technology at Bühler.

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To feed 10 billion people who are expected to live on our planet by 2050, about 250 million metric tons of additional protein will be necessary every year. This is an increase of 50% compared to today. The industry must address this challenge with a more sustainable production of existing sources of protein, the companies say, as well as alternative sources for direct human and animal consumption. Edible insects can play a role in upcycling food waste streams to high-quality proteins, which makes them a potentially valuable source of protein while being environmentally friendly.

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